Engineer finds better fit in machining

By Jennifer Ferrero, APR

Nathan Cassou wanted to be a mechanical engineer. In fact, he attended Central Washington University and earned a degree in engineering and went to work for five years in the field. But something didn’t seem right.

He felt restless and sought out other opportunities. He thought perhaps being a diesel mechanic would be a good fit; but in the end enrolled at Shoreline Community College in the Machining program. Cassou said, “I love to work with people and I don’t like cubicles. I am taking a pay cut; but, this company is one of the #1 aerospace contractors in the world.”

He added that he is looking to be a project manager or supervisor someday.

He recently graduated and started working at Precision Cast Parts in their Swaging division. Even while in school, he had to make another decision. Shoreline was offering the new Mechatronics program, which is training for facilities maintenance on high tech robotics and machinery, and he had an option to jump to that program.

“Mechatronics is a new job, very sought after, robotics is taking over the mundane tasks in day-to-day industry. They need technicians who can service these robots all over the country. Siemens and Boeing are hiring a lot of Mechatronics programmers. I will likely be exposed to Mechatronics in my job in the future because that is where factories are going. It pays extremely well – I recommend it to anybody looking for a career path,” he added, but said that staying in the Machining program was a better fit for him at this time.

He said that one of the biggest take-aways from the Shoreline Community College Machining program was that he learned that he must be pro-active in his work. He is now engaged in going to work and caring about what he is doing every day.

The program, he said also teaches manual dexterity, while learning a skill that is extremely useful to the future of aerospace and any industry.

He added that the program, “Teaches you to problem solve every single day, which is very gratifying. You must be able to set up the machine and account for what happens next. The machinist must be very mindful of everything with a good attention to detail.”

Cassou said that the tolerances are so tight that “You are .0005 away from screwing up a $40,000 project.”

At this time, he looks forward to working his way into supervision or project management and noted that he may go back to engineering, “When I am very stiff and sore.” But he now has the knowledge of how to design, engineer and produce parts, which is the total picture in manufacturing.